Jaza's World Trip

The Wells Fargo cheque

This morning was not only a hectic rush, but also a major pain in the behind. After a hurried breakfast, I power-walked from The Green Tortoise, down to my friend at Millenium Technical Services, who needed my hired laptop back today. MTS didn't open until 9:30am, and I had to be back at the Tortoise at 10am, to catch my shuttle to the airport, so that I could catch my plane to Vancouver, which was scheduled to fly out at 12:25pm. All went well in terms of timing: I made it to MTS; I gave the laptop back; and I made it back to the Tortoise in time to catch the shuttle. The only bad thing that came out of this morning's activities was a Wells Fargo cheque for USD$300.

You see, I put down a deposit of $500 cash at MTS, in order to hire my laptop last Tuesday. Upon returning the laptop this morning, i was of course entitled to have my deposit returned. However, the guy at MTS didn't have $500 in cash on him. So instead, he gave me as much cash as he could (which was $200), and then wrote out a cheque to me, for the remaining $300. I wasn't too happy about this, but I didn't really see what else I could do. I asked him if he could go to an ATM, but he said that he couldn't leave the shop, because it was just him there. So I took the cheque.

I should have gone to a Wells Fargo bank straightaway, and cashed the cheque. But I didn't have time: I had to run right back to the Tortoise, and catch my shuttle to the airport. When I got to the airport, I looked for a Wells Fargo bank, but the only bank in SF Airport is the Bank of America. And they refused to cash the cheque (unless I opened an account with them). I didn't have time to leave the airport and go looking for a Wells Fargo branch.

I found a payphone, and rang the Wells Fargo toll-free customer service hotline. I explained my predicament to them: I have a Wells Fargo cheque for $300, I'm an Australian, I don't have a bank account in this country, and I'm flying to Canada in less than 2 hours. I asked if they had any branches in Vancouver: nope, they don't.

And guess what? To make matters even more fun, the only time I'm going to be in the USA in the next 6 months, is next week, when I'll only be there on Saturday night, when all the Wells Fargo branches are shut.

So I'm stuck with a cheque for $300, and I have no idea what to do with it. I could send it home, and hope that my parents can cash it into my Aussie bank account; but what if that doesn't work? Stupid guy with no cash. I gave him $500 in cash, so why couldn't he give me $500 in cash back?

Filed in: San FranciscoMoneyStupidity